Of Jaagarnauts and Demons

The last few days have been a blur. The Malleshwaram Calling team is quite a little jaagarnaut orbiting in dizzying circles around our beautiful new Jaaga DNA studio. Swooping in and out, picking up where the other left off. Leveraging Slack, WhatsApp and collaborative online documents, while checking off tasks on a tightly managed spreadsheet of to-dos. From across timezones and disciplines, I find this team to be truly beautiful in how they plug in and out. Fluid – lava forging through the crevices, crags and crannies that research, production and tech inevitably present.

We have completed about 25 in depth oral history interviews and 500 broad surveys, and have excavated a goldmine of translucent, fragile, luminous impressions of a neighbourhood in the making, at the time of a nation in the making.

Times when national leaders shared processional pedestals with gods. When the bullet that slayed that visionary one cold January evening, drew tears in the eyes of a teenager 1325 miles from the capital, in the sleepy neighbourhood of Malleshwaram.

It was certainly an uncertain time, but one infused with hope. A cocksure era of motivated idealism. Strangely, disquietingly at odds with the despondency and apathy that muddle our streets. And while not lacking its vein of violence and jagged edges, held perhaps a firmer grip on identity and self.

I find myself grappling with this notion of anonymity constantly. Of being too insignificant to make a difference to the multitudinous present. Of being swept away in a tidal tsunami of corrosive change.

The fight now is with our own selfmade demons – not the colonizer nor the oppression of circumstance. We now stand to win or lose against our own ethical code and humanity – and how we choose to navigate this decides the fate of the planet as a whole.